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New York State Estate Tax

Frequently Asked Questions


Filing Requirements


The estate of a New York resident must file a New York State estate tax return if the amount of the resident's federal gross estate, plus the amount of any includible gifts, exceeds the basic exclusion amount applicable at the date of death.


An estate of a New York nonresident must file a New York State estate tax return if the estate includes any real or tangible property located in New York State, and the amount of the nonresident's federal gross estate, plus the amount of any includible gifts, 
exceeds the basic exclusion amount applicable at the date of death.

Add Back of Certain Gifts 

You must add back any taxable gift under section 2503 of the Internal Revenue Code that:

  • was made during the preceding three year period ending on the decedent's date of death, and;

  • is not already included in the decedent's federal gross estate.


However, a gift is not added back if it was made:

  • while the decedent was a nonresident;

  • before April 1, 2014;

  • between January 1, 2019 and January 15, 2019; or

  • that is real or tangible property having sited outside New York State at the time the gift was made.

For estates of decedents dying on or after January 1, 2019 and before January 16, 2019, there is no add back of taxable gifts.

Important information for New York State nonresidents: Only add back gifts if they were real or tangible personal property having an actual location in New York State, or were intangible personal property employed in a business, trade, or profession carried on in New York State.

New York QTIP Election

The Tax Law requires a New York Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) election be made directly on a New York return for decedents dying on or after April 1, 2019. Any property that benefited from a previously allowed New York marital deduction must be included in the surviving spouse's New York gross estate, whether the QTIP election was made on the transferring spouse's New York estate tax return or via a federal proforma return if an actual federal return was not otherwise required. Any election made under this subsection shall be irrevocable.

Basic exclusion amount (BEA)

The Basic Exclusion Amount for dates of death on or after January 1, 2020 and before January 1, 2021 is $5,850,000. If your estate (i.e., everything you own) exceeds the Basic Exclusion Amount beware of the "cliff."

When to File and Pay

Estates must file and pay the tax within nine months after the decedent's death using Form ET-706, New York State Estate Tax Return. You must also attach federal form 706, United States Estate Tax Return. You must complete and include federal form Form 706 even if the estate is not required to  otherwise file a federal estate tax return.

Tax rates

New York's estate tax is calculated by using the tax tables provided on Form ET-706. Be sure to use the table for dates of death on or after April 1, 2014.

Waivers and Releases

Personal Property: When authorization is required for the release of personal property, it is usually referred to as an estate tax waiver or a consent to transfer. New York State does not require waivers for estates of anyone who died on or after February 1, 2000. 

Real Property:  Authorization to transfer real property is referred to as a release of lien. 

A waiver of citation is used for an estate to get court approval for a specific action and must be approved by the Tax Department.

What is a Closing Letter?

The New York State Tax Department will provide a closing letter to certify that no tax is due or to serve as a final receipt for the tax due. The letter is issued after all processing is completed and should be kept as a permanent record. Most closing letters will be issued about nine months from the time of filing. However, returns that contain errors or have special circumstances may take longer. If a return is selected for audit, the closing letter will be issued approximately 30 days from the date the audit case is closed unless there are other outstanding issues with the Tax Department, such as an open assessment or other audit case.

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